BABYLON IS FALLEN
these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great
authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory. And he cried mightily
with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has
become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage
for every unclean and hated bird!” Revelation 18:1–2
is a continuation of the vision from chapter 17. There we learned about the
great harlot, which is the spirit of apostasy, the scarlet colored beast of
Roman Catholicism, the ten horns and the harlot daughters that came into being
during the Protestant Reformation.
this chapter we encounter an angel with great authority coming down from heaven.
What we see here is reminiscent of Revelation chapter 14 where the Lamb appears
on Mount Zion. A loud voice from heaven was heard with the appearance of the
Lamb in that chapter. Here in chapter 17 we hear the angel having great
authority speaking with a loud voice. We saw in chapter 13 three angels
appearing in response to the loud voice each having a specific message: The
everlasting gospel; Babylon is fallen; and prohibition for worshipping the
beast, his image, and receiving the mark of the beast. In this chapter the angel
covers the same topics under the statement that Babylon has fallen and
commanding God’s people to come out of her.
is fallen, is fallen
first encountered Babylon in Revelation 14:8 where the angel there says the
exact same words: “Babylon is fallen, is fallen.” The repetition of the
words is fallen indicates the absolute
certainty of Babylon’s fallen state—it is fallen and there is no hope of its
ever getting up. This statement is a direct quote from Isaiah 21:9 “And look,
here comes a chariot of men with a pair of horsemen! Then he answered and said,
Babylon is fallen, is fallen! And all the carved images of her gods He has
broken to the ground.” This is said in a prophecy given by Isaiah in about 714
B.C. of the eventual fall of Babylon that will happen in 539 B.C., 175 years in
the future. The defeat of Babylon by Cyrus was God’s appointed means of ending
the captivity of God’s people, Israel, and causing their return to their
learned that the Babylon of the Revelation exists in the man-made churches that
originated with both the beast of the sea (Catholicism) and the beast of the
earth (the Reformation) of chapter 13. This Babylon condition is a spiritual
conspiracy designed and motivated by the great red dragon (i.e. Christ-less
religion) of chapter 12 using the beast of the sea and the beast of the earth to
keep God’s people from following the Lamb on Mount Zion in chapter 14.
Furthermore, we have just seen this same Babylon in the great harlot, the spirit
of apostasy, in chapter 17.
facts tell us that the Babylon named here is a complex collection of all
Christ-less and apostate Christian-like religion working together to divert
people from the worship of the one and only true creator God and holding them
captive away from the love and grace of God through fear, superstition,
idolatry, false teaching, ritual, pseudo-spirituality, self-righteousness, and
any means that preserves native depravity and denies the holiness of God.
Babylon’s condition is fallen. The verb fallen is used here in the sense of
falling under judgment, as is its use in James 5:12 where we are told “let
your Yes, be Yes, and your No, No, lest you fall into judgment.”
judgment under which Babylon falls is God exposing it for what it really is. The
angel pours out God’s judgment by exposing six key characteristics of this
spiritual Babylon in verses 2 and 3.
Babylon is the dwelling place of demons. Every religion has a guiding spirit.
The guiding spirit of the church Jesus built is the Holy Spirit, as we learn in
1 Corinthians 12:12–13, “For as the body is one and has many members, but
all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.
For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks,
whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.” And
the Apostle tells us in verses 27 and 28 that this body is the body of Christ,
the church. Everything else other than the body of Christ is guided by demons. A
demon is an evil spirit that is subservient to the very devil. Demons motivate
the beliefs and practices of pagan religions, philosophic religions, humanistic
religions, and apostate Christian religions.
second characteristic of Babylon is it is a prison for every foul spirit. The
King James Version calls it a hold, meaning a place that is guarded, a prison. Foul spirits in the
Revelation are essentially the spirits of people that are controlled by their
native depravity. Babylon religions offer no cleansing from sin and no hope or
possibility of real holiness in this life. Their beliefs and practices
discourage any hope of lasting deliverance from sin and hold people in bondage
to sin. The Apostle Paul realized this in his religious experience as a Jew in
Romans 7:17–21, “But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells
in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to
will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the
good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I
practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but
sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one
who wills to do good.”
third characteristic is that Babylon is a cage for every unclean and hated bird.
The word cage is the same Greek word
as prison. The word bird
occurs only in this verse of the Book of Revelation, so there is no precedent
for its interpretation before this verse. However, the phrase is reminiscent of
Isaiah’s depiction of fallen Babylon after its defeat by the Persians in
chapters 13 and 14 of the Book of Isaiah. The word unclean
is the same as the word foul in the
expression foul spirit; and the word hated
means detested or intensely disliked. From this we gather that Babylon is a
place of spiritual desolation, a spiritual prison that keeps people separated
from God because it keeps them in sin and in a state of life called uncleanness
that they actually dislike deep in their hearts.
fourth characteristic is that Babylon makes people drunk on the wine of her
fornication. The wine of the religions of Babylon is the doctrines they teach.
Babylon’s religions teach anything from myths to erroneous interpretations of
the Bible. Babylon’s people accept, believe and rely on these teachings for
their sense of spiritual existence. The angel calls this wine the wrath of her
fornication. The word wrath indicates hard breathing and indignation. Those that have
drunk the wine of any part of Babylon become indignant and oppositional when
those doctrines are debunked by God’s word.
fifth characteristic is that Babylon makes the kings of the earth commit
fornication. The relationship of Christ to His true church is likened to a
marriage where Christ is the husband and the church is His bride. Babylon draws
people into religious relationships that are supposedly relationships with God,
or someone’s idea of God, but fall far short of the salvation God has made
through the atonement in Christ. Babylon cannot lead people into a true
relationship with God, so these religious relationships are a sham, they are
false, and therefore they are the same as spiritual fornication.
the sixth characteristic is called the abundance of her luxury. The King James
Version uses the word delicacies instead of luxury.
The word has a deeper meaning that what we think; the Greek word implies
insolent luxury and if we do not understand the word insolent, it means boldly
rude or disrespectable. Those delicacies cause people to feel superior to other
religions. Among the Christ-less and apostate Christian religions there is the
tendency for adherents to believe their religion is superior to all others if
not the only way to God. And especially when confronted with the true word of
God, they believe their doctrines and practices are right and the word of God is
religions, whether they be Christ-less or apostate tend to make people feel
right and secure in following them regardless of what God has actually revealed.
To confront a follower of any of Babylon’s religion with the everlasting
gospel is to challenge his sense of religious security. If he feels secure in
his religion, he will flatly reject the truth of the Scriptures.
built His church on the atonement in Christ. The dragon spirit and the spirit of
apostasy oppose Christ’s church. While persecution and apostasy have been
ongoing pressures in the history of the church they have never succeeded in
doing away with the everlasting gospel. Babylon is indeed fallen into the depths
of error. Compared to the everlasting gospel, we know that the Christ-less
religions are wrong and do not offer salvation or eternal life.
under the guise of Christianity and the church, is less obvious because it
presents a message of Christ in doctrine and practice that in some ways may
appear to be correct, but under the scrutiny of the everlasting gospel it can be
found to contain heresy or to have apostatized from a true faith once held by
the church Jesus built.
angel that comes down from heaven in chapter 18 continues teaching the message
of the everlasting gospel we found earlier in chapter 16. I believe this angel
with great authority is God’s final move in time to bring about an end-time
first thing necessary for the end-time revival is the revival of bold teaching
of the everlasting gospel, which is seen in the great authority given to this
angel and the glory that attends his message.
necessary for the end-time revival is for the church to expose Babylon for what
it is. This is not so difficult with the Christ-less religions because they look
to anything other than the atonement in Christ as a pathway to God. The real
challenge for us in the end-time revival is to expose the Babylon of the beast
and its horns, what we might call Christian Babylon, in a manner that reflects
God’s stern and objective love. Perhaps the words stern and objective do not
sound like words that go with love, but God’s love is just that. It is
intense; it is definite; it is absolute; and it cannot be made to embrace
anything less than holiness because God is holy. Babylon will interpret our
preaching as hate, but the message of salvation and holiness tears down sin and
ungodliness and gives hope to all who sincerely and purposefully seek God.
what John wrote in 1 John 4:10, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but
that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” God
has made salvation possible for all people only through the atonement in Christ.
This is the message we carry to those held hostage in Christ-less religions; and
this is the message we carry to those held hostage in churches that do not offer
the everlasting gospel that transforms peoples’ lives from sin to holiness.